The story of the Porsche’s development of the 917 is a rich account of how a small but dedicated band of engineers undertook to produce a race car that went on to set records that to this day have not been bettered. Designed to win the world-famous Le Mans 24 Hours race, Porsche finally stepped into the big time of international auto racing with its Type 917 in 1969. Its phenomenal air-cooled flat-12 engine powered the 917 to 15 wins in world sports-car championship races from 1969 to 1971 including two wins at Le Mans in 1970 and 71, after which it was outlawed by a rules change. First built in a series of 25 coupes that Volkswagen chief Ferdinand Piech called the biggest risk he’s ever taken in business, the 917 was raced in both short- and long-tailed forms. Today the Porsche 917 is recognized as the car that ended Porsche’s underdog status in international motor sport.
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